Rituals. Hmmm…I was treadmilling the other night, listening to a lovely episode of NPR’s Backseat Book Club featuring Lucy Dahl, Roald’s daughter. Start at 3:40 for a fascinating glimpse into Roald’s writing setting and rituals. I wish I had such definite, comforting rituals. But I don’t.
I do have a few elements I return to, though: light, movement, and time.
1) Light – Sometimes I light a little candle before writing. A flickering light sets my mind at rest, somehow. I have a lantern given to me by a dear writer friend that I love to write by.
When I’m lazy but still want that flicker, I light my little febreze fake candle:>) Excuse me: Febreze Flameless Luminary.
And when I’m super-busy, I just write by a window, with the blinds slatted upward so I get glimpses of trees and sky, but not distracting cute bunnies in the yard.
2) Movement: When I’m frustrated with my writing, I move. Can’t think of the right word? I’ll pace around the kitchen/dining room circle, or go walk Capt. Jack (when it’s not 20 below zero), or even just stand up and do 30 squats.
|Photo: DuBoix, |
courtesy of Morguefile
3) Time: Deadline-setting is really my only consistent ritual. I learned to be a writer in tiny bursts while blocking out life stresses. I still write best in small, intense chunks. No matter what kind of project I'm working on, I start the same way. I look at the clock. I look at the project. Panic shoots through me at my day's to-do list. Then I breathe and set a timer. “Rough draft of this poem. 20 minutes. Go.” Even if I have 3 straight hours of writing time, I probably work on 3-5 different projects during that time, each with its own deadline.
So, there you have it. Three sort-of routines. It would probably be simpler if I just started with a mug of cinnamon tea every day or something:>)
--Laura Purdie Salas